The top 5 hardest and easiest activities for Daddy, according to Carver and Greta Krill | Reeve Blogger Heather Krill

Posted by Reeve Staff in Life After Paralysis on December 15, 2016 # Quality of Life Grant Spotlight, Caregiving

When our kids were teething, they sometimes, much to our dismay, chewed on the tires of Daddy’s wheelchair because they were rubber and felt good, even if disgusting. When they learned to walk, they used Daddy’s wheelchair as a stabilizing device-- and then when they started running, they would just give his chair a good shove if he was blocking their path, whether he was ready or not. Daddy’s chair (with Daddy in it) was in the way, and they didn’t care that his absence of abdominal muscles would cause him to flip over.

With it being the holiday season, I thought about what nuggets of wisdom or gifts “from the mouths of babes” our kids might share. They were very excited to participate in our interview and be part of “Mommy’s blog.” I asked them what the hardest and easiest activities are for Daddy. While I expected some of their responses, others surprised me.

"Top 5 Hardest Activities for Our Dad” (who has a T6-7 complete spinal cord injury)

  1. “Getting on rides at fairs and carnivals.” There was a debate between the two of them whether this should be first or not, but Carver convinced his sister due to the Sandwich Fair in October being fresh on his mind. To be fair, Disney World was very accessible, but we did horrify people trying to get Geoff on a ride which wasn’t accessible. No one was injured, but it was a sporty dismount to say the least. Our siblings and close friends are well seasoned at helping to get Geoff places he wants to go and cannot on his own.
  2. “Scuba Diving.” Not sure where this comes from as we’ve never been as a family, but maybe because we haven’t done this yet, they think he cannot. He has completed an adaptive scuba certification, but clearly we need to remedy this in our children’s minds.
  3. “Standing.” Greta suggested this one go first, and they debated whether standing or walking was actually important. I love that they equate the fact that he can’t stand right up with there with not being able to tie shoes.
  4. “Getting in and out of the ocean.” Yes, we should probably own one of those hippocampe chairs with the fat tires. They can be pushed right into the ocean, which is cool. Many beaches have them, but not the ones we usually visit. Our family LOVES the water, but oceans make Geoff feel like a battered shrimp- his words, not mine.
  5. “Reaching the snacks.” We have a tiny kitchen without a lot of drawers or shelves. Our kids also use Geoff’s grabbers to snag the sweet treats stored up high, so then the snacks had to go higher. Smart little buggers! This makes them also tough for Daddy to grab.

Top 5 Easiest Activities for Our Dad

  1. “Snuggling on any couch.”
  2. “Monoskiing on snowy mountains.”
  3. “Reading stories to us.”
  4. “Waterskiing on Squam Lake.”
  5. “Fishing on any boat.”

Collectively, this list tells us a lot about how they, as children, view their very able-bodied daddy. He has always had a lap one could crawl up onto; only now, our son is weighing in at almost 70 pounds making the lap situation more difficult. They love to snuggle and read on the couch after long days of school or busy winter weekends skiing. Their dad is a professional skier, part of the National PSIA Demonstration Team, consulting adaptive sports programs across our country and beyond. He uses a monoski, is the technical director for Loon Mountain’s Snowsports School and writes articles for the magazine 32 Degrees. The fact that we ski together as a family or fish together in the summer, thanks to Eastern Adaptive Sports, or waterski off a friend’s boat created incredible muscle memory in their social and emotional development. Our kids see a person in a wheelchair and wonder if they ski, or ride a handcycle, or fish with friends. We did not teach our children to view disability this way; they instinctively focus on everything Daddy can do and not on what he can’t. Our wish for 2017 is that more families overcoming challenges of ability find gifts like these in the unlikeliest of places.

To find different adaptive actitives to enjoy with your family, check out our interactive Resource Map.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.